Swallow Solutions News

If you or a loved one is having difficulty swallowing, it’s important to understand the treatment options available to you.

Thickened fluids and foods. G-tubes. These have their place and can be an important piece of a course of treatment. However, there’s another option that can help patients regain the ability to swallow after treatment: the SwallowSTRONG System by Swallow Solutions.

What is the SwallowSTRONG?

The SwallowSTRONG is a device that pairs cutting-edge technology and evidence-based practices for an innovative solution to swallowing problems. Designed for use in the home, under the guidance of a Speech Language Pathologist (SLP) or other qualified clinician, the SwallowSTRONG helps patients strengthen the muscles of the mouth and throat, making it easier for patients to swallow.

Does it work?

Yes. Independent studies have found that that treatment with the SwallowSTRONG has resulted in fewer hospital admissions, upgraded diets and improved quality of life.

Is it affordable?

Swallow Solutions is dedicated to improving the health and quality of life of patients with swallowing disorders, and have developed a rental model that will make treatment with the SwallowSTRONG more affordable than ever.

Patients can now rent a SwallowSTRONG System directly from Swallow Solutions for only $200 a month (typical treatment course is 2-3 months). With the one-time purchase of the $195 mouthpiece required for each individual, patients can get access to treatment for a total cost of less than $600.

How can I learn more?

If the SwallowSTRONG System sounds like it could be a solution to your swallowing problem, contact Swallow Solutions at 608-238-6678 for more information.

NOTE: Every patient is different and treatment decisions should be made under the guidance of a Speech Language Pathologist (SLP) or other qualified clinician.

The patient, “John” has lived in a skilled nursing facility in Texas since suffering a large aneurysm. For 2.5 years, John received all nutrition via a G-tube. The speech pathologist, Emily -  employed by Rehab Synergies - had worked with John before, but was able to pick him back up on caseload when she got the SwallowSTRONG System. The SwallowSTRONG technology allowed for a new and more systematic approach to oropharyngeal strengthening.

 

At the start of therapy with the SwallowSTRONG, John was barely able to move his tongue. Under the excellent direction of Emily, he progressively strengthened his swallowing muscles, and is now able to eat orally and had the G-tube removed. 

 

Emily reported, “The patient and family loved seeing the progress in real time with the user interface as well as the progress printouts from the SwallowSTRONG Management System. SwallowSTRONG allowed us to push for maximum improvement and validated that patient was making progress. It's definitely a great product to have in your therapy arsenal, especially after seeing the impact it made on such a severe case.”

John, his family,Emily and the team are all celebrating these significant improvements in swallowing safety and quality of life!

Dysphagia is a serious issue regardless of other conditions the person may have. It can lead to serious health consequences, like malnutrition, aspiration pneumonia, and reduced quality of life. 

But the condition can be even more difficult for people with dementia, and diagnosing a swallowing problem in a demented person can be difficult. Dementia patients may have difficulty communicating, or may forget that they have issues with swallowing food or drink. 

How can clinicians or caretakers guard against dysphagia in patients with dementia?

Here are some subtle signs that may indicate a swallowing problem:

  • Coughing during eating
  • Constant clearing of the throat
  • Grimaces or painful expression during eating
  • Holding food in the side of the mouth
  • Spitting out food
  • Drooling while eating
  • Eating too fast
  • Unexpected weight lost
  • Wet, gurgle or hoarse-sounding voice
  • Touching the upper chest or throat when eating
  • Taking too much time to eat
  • Sorting, arranging, or playing with food
  • Excessive chewing, but no swallowing
  • Watery eyes
  • Runny nose

(Click here for more suggestions on recognizing, diagnosing and treating dysphagia in demented patients).

Swallow Solutions offers an innovative dysphagia treatment device called the SwallowSTRONG. The device strengthens the muscles involved in the swallow, and can help some people regain their ability to swallow. And, it's so intuitive, patients with dementia have had success with the device. 

As the world continues to mourn the passing of Muhammad Ali, we at the blog were thinking about the legendary boxer's life and his long struggle with Parkinson's disease.

 

Ali was known as a fighter, having gone up against the likes of Larry Holmes, George Foreman and Joe Frazier -- but his greatest battle may have been Parkinson's Disease.

Parkinson's Disease impacts an estimated one million Americans, according to the Parkinson's Disease Foundation, with about 60,000 new diagnoses each year.

Ali's public bout with the disease began with a memorable moment at the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta, when the gold medalist lit the Olympic flame despite his badly shaking limbs.

 

Why are we talking about Parkinson's Disease on a blog about dysphagia (difficulty swallowing?) Because people with Parkinson's often find themselves suffering with dysphagia as well.

Parkinson's impacts motor function, often manifesting through tremor, rigidity, slowness of movement and postural instability. But additional problems may display as a result of Parkinson's -- one of them being dysphagia.

If you're suffering from dysphagia, regardless of the cause, we hope that Ali can be an inspiration to you to keep fighting. 

Ali was relentless in training for his matches. He knew that regardless of the challenger he'd face in the ring, his body would be prepared.

Swallow Solutions offers an innovative product to help dysphagia patients train the muscles involved in the swallow -- ultimately helping them regain the ability to swallow.

With an attitude like Ali, and the SwallowSTRONG<, dysphagia patients can often times deliver a knock out blow to their swallowing problems.

(June is National Dysphagia Awareness month. Follow us on Twitter or join us on Facebook for more dysphagia facts throughout the month.)

A new payment model released by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) last month could help to reduce preventable hospital admissions.

According to McKnight’s Long-Term Care News, the new plan would increase payments to skilled nursing facilities, allowing them to provide their residents with treatment for common ailments and conditions that could potentially lead to hospitalization.

Physicians would also receive increased payments to perform assessments at SNFs, while under the current model, Medicare pays physicians less to perform evaluations outside of a hospital environment.

Under the new model, participating facilities would be expected to reinvest in staff training and equipment purchases.

Effectively, the payments would make it easier for skilled nursing facilities to provide higher-quality care and lower costs to beneficiaries.

By expanding their patient-care role, SNFs could double-down to reduce hospital admissions by investing in equipment like the Swallow Solutions device, which has been shown to reduce hospital admissions by 61 percent.

The new payment model will enter testing in six health facilities across seven states later this year.

Swallow Solutions, the manufacturers of the SwallowSTRONG dyspagia therapy device, are pleased to share the results of a study that was recently published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

 

The study, entitled Effects of Device-Facilitated Isometric Progressive Resistance Oropharyngeal Therapy on Swallowing and Health-Related Outcomes in Older Adults with Dysphagia provides evidence that devices by Swallow Solutions can lead to positive outcomes for both patients and facilities.

 

Patients with dysphagia, or difficulty swallowing, underwent lingual strengthening therapy with Swallow Solutions devices. Their health and well-being were tracked for the 17 months after completing therapy.

 

Among the findings during that time were: a 67 percent decline in pneumonia diagnoses, a 61 percent drop in hospital admissions, and improved lingual strength in patients.

 

As patients improved their lingual strength, they reported less difficulty swallowing and improved quality of life, noting specifically an increased desire for food, improved mental health, better social well-being, and less fatigue associated with eating.

 

The facility also saw an impact on their bottom line, as bed days among these patients decreased by 56 percent, resulting in cost-savings of more than one million dollars.


The study was performed by Nicole Rogus-Pulia, Nicole Rusche, Jacqueline A. Hind, Jill Zielinski, Ronald Gangnon, Nasia Safdar and JoAnne Robbins. You can view the study by clicking here.

Swallow Solutions is pleased to congratulate Barb Cook, M.S., CCC-SP for 35 years of service in the speech pathology department at the Edwards Hines Jr. VA Hospital.

Throughout her career, Barb has helped many patients with swallowing problems, and has recently helped bring SwallowSTRONG therapy to dysphagia patients.

The Hines VA is a T21 demonstration SwallowSTRONG clinic site, and helps to bring a multidisciplinary approach to dysphagia patients.

Barb was recognized for her service with a ceremony, where colleagues and a former patient gathered to honor her.

Congratulations again on 35 years of helping speech pathology patients!

The Journal of the American Geriatrics Society (JAGS) recently published an article entitled Effects of Device-Facilitated Isometric Progressive Resistance Oropharyngeal Therapy on Swallowing and Health-Related Outcomes in Older Adults with Dysphagia

The article discusses a effects of a study during which 56 patients with dysphagia completed lingual strengthening using the device by Swallow Solutions. It discusses the positive impact the therapy has on health outcomes, as well as significant cost-savings for facilities.

Here are the highlights:

Patients health and wellbeing were followed for up to 17 months.

Decreased pneumonia diagnoses. Incidence of pneumonia decreased 67%. 

Decreased hospital admissions. Hospital admissions decreased 61%. 

Patients increased lingual strength. Swallowing disorders occur in older patients due, at least in part, to weakening lingual musculature. After 8 weeks, patients were significantly stronger. As they became stronger, patients reported that they had less difficulty swallowing and improved quality of life.

They noted increased desire for food, improved mental health, improved social wellbeing, and less fatigue.

Decreased bed days, cost savings. Bed days decreased 56% resulting in overall savings of over one million dollars. 

The results speak for themselves. Lingual strengthening using the Swallow Solutions device works. 

The full study is available here.

Get your hashtags ready, Swallow Solutions is now on Twitter and we want to hear from you!

Whether you're a patient or family member of someone dealing with dysphagia, a clinician interested in learning about the SwallowSTRONG device, or just interested in swallowing disorders, check us out! It's a way for you to instantly connect with the team here at Swallow Solutions, and to share your questions, comments, and stories with us.

Our account is monitored from 8 A.M. to 5 P.M. central time, Monday through Friday. 

Give us a follow! Find us at @SwalSol and join the conversation.

Swallow Solutions announced that it was selected to receive a $75,000 Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Advance Grant from the Center for Technology Commercialization at the UW Extension as a part of the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation's SBIR Advance Program.

The SBIR Advance Program provides small businesses in the state of Wisconsin with financial and coaching resources as they build their applications for federal SBIR grants. Specifically, this grant will help Swallow Solutions as they write their commercialization plan for their innovative beverage products, developed by Senior Food Scientist Heather Mendenhall. 

Patients with dysphagia or other swallowing disorders often need thickened beverages to prevent dehydration and aspiration. As part of its mission, Swallow Solutions is dedicated to improve the health and quality of life of patients with swallowing disorders, and the grant works towards that end.

 

 

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